Richard Harrison:


As told to: Dave Bidini

The first time I met Bobby Hull, I was asked to present him with a poem I’d written. At the reception, Bobby already had a little crowd around him when we were introduced. I handed him the poem and he pocketed it right away, looked me in the eye and he said, in that gravelly laugh of his, “Poet, eh? All I know about poetry is Robert Service: ‘The Shooting of Dan McGrew.’” And right there he began: “A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon.” He stretched out his arm with his fingers that had been busted and healed so many times he couldn’t flatten them. He spread them as wide as he could to describe the length of the bar that ran from where we stood out the door and into the hotel corridor. He continued: “The kid that handles the music- box was hitting a jag-time tune…” He paused. “You know this?” Sure, I nodded, and he went on, drawing out the syllables. He dropped lower into the gravel: “Back of the bar in a solo game sat Dangerous Dan McGrew.” It was a wonderful moment: Bobby Hull– whose shot could knock a man off his skates and back into his own goal– reciting something immortal from my chosen art form, admitting that he didn’t belong in my world as a creator but that something from that world had become part of him.




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